October 9, 2022 Russia-Ukraine Information

October 10, 2022

Black smoke billows from a fire on the Kerch bridge, on October 8.

The Kremlin is intent on exhibiting the assault on the Crimea bridge wasn’t that severe and that the essential lifeline from the Russian mainland to the illegally-annexed Crimean Peninsula can be again to regular quickly.

The bodily injury could be restored — Russia instantly dispatched a big emergency staff to the positioning — however the injury to Russia’s status and, extra importantly, to the picture of Vladimir Putin, gained’t be that straightforward to restore. 

That is his bridge, his mission, constructed with the equal of virtually $4 billion from the Russian treasury. It’s a symbolic “marriage ceremony band” uniting Mom Russia and Ukraine, or a minimum of a area that also legally belongs to Ukraine, essential not solely to Putin’s struggle effort however to his obsession with bringing Ukraine again beneath Russia’s management.

Putin’s February twenty first handle to the Russian folks, delivered simply earlier than he ordered the invasion of Ukraine, laid naked his warped view of historical past. Ukraine, he insists, shouldn’t be actually an unbiased nation: “Ukraine is not only a neighboring nation for us,” he claimed. “It’s an inalienable a part of our personal historical past, tradition and non secular area.” 

That speech, some of the revealing of his presidency, makes clear that this fratricidal struggle in opposition to Ukraine could be very private to him. For a few years he has been fixated on Peter the Nice, the Russian czar who based St. Petersburg, the town through which Putin was born and raised. I as soon as visited the town administration workplace through which Putin labored within the early Nineteen Nineties after he returned from his job as a KGB operative in East Germany. On the wall above his desk was a portrait of Peter the Nice.

In June of this 12 months, because the grinding struggle in Ukraine entered its fourth month, Putin once more in contrast himself to Peter the Nice, insisting that Peter, who conquered land from Sweden, was “returning” to Russia what really belonged to it.

Putin now, apparently, believes that returning Ukraine to Russia is his historic future. He probably sees the galling assault on the Crimea bridge not solely as an assault on the Russian homeland, however as a private affront. And he’s prone to reply viciously.  

Already, a day after the assault, Russian forces are bombing civilian residence buildings in Ukraine. Hardline supporters of Putin are urging extra strikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Western leaders warn that an more and more annoyed Putin would possibly resort to utilizing tactical nuclear weapons. Army specialists say he may retaliate asymmetrically, placing surprising targets.

For years, Putin has had one other obsession: punishing traitors. One month after his forces attacked Ukraine, he threatened to retaliate in opposition to any Russians who opposed the struggle, calling them “fifth column … nationwide traitors” in thrall to the West.

This Sunday, the day after the bridge bombing, he known as it a “terrorist assault” whose “authors, executors and masterminds” are the key providers of Ukraine…and “residents of Russia from international international locations.”

One factor is evident: because the combating strikes nearer to Russia, Vladimir Putin sees his “historic mission” in jeopardy. And which means feelings may outweigh cause. For Ukraine, for Russians who oppose the struggle, and for the world, this can be a harmful second.

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